In situ Burning Agreements in the First Coast Guard District
Physical removal of all spilled oil from the environment, while a preferred option, is often not possible because of the dynamic nature of the environment in which the oil is spilled. In situ burning is the combustion of oil in place, typically considered on-water by containing oil in fire-resistant containment booms, but also feasible on land and in marshes. It consumes tremendous volumes of oil rapidly, and may be considered where the smoke plume will not affect populated areas. Additional general information and additional references on in situ burning have been assembled by the Regional Response Teams I and II (RRT I and II).
In Situ Burning Planning Mandate
Because of the potential benefits that burning offers and the need for prompt decisions, the Clean Water Act (as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990) and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) specifically require that Regional and Area Contingency Plans include applicable pre-authorization plans for the use of burning agents and address the specific contexts in which such products should and should not be used (see 40 CFR §300.910), additionally, Area Contingency Plans are required to preapprove specific countermeasures to reduce adverse spill impacts. In situ burn preplanning is important to ensure burning agent use decisions may be made rapidly, and implications of other laws and regulations (such as the Clean Air Act) are addressed before the spill.
Summary of Agreements in the First District (RRTs I and II)
Because of planning mandates and potential benefits of rapid decisions, several agreements have been drawn at the RRT I and II planning levels to allow for swift decisions on in situ burning use in specified zones. The following summary table and following generalized protocols capture the key concepts of each agreement. You should always refer to the original agreements for specifics on the protocols and zones.
Common Protocols of In Situ Burning Decision Agreements (refer to original for details)
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